‘Well, you’re dead anyway’: What Stockton Rush said about the Titanic sub and safety.


“Well, you’re dead anyway.” This is what OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush is reported to have told a previous passenger who raised safety concerns about the Titan submersible.
The deep-sea vessel was on an expedition to the Titanic wreckage last month when it lost contact with OceanGate, a tour operator, an hour and 45 minutes into the two-hour descent. After days of searching, the wreckage was recovered from the ocean floor near the Titanic.
It had imploded, killing all five people on board, including Rush himself, three Britons – Hamish Harding and father and son Shahzada and Suleman Dawood – and Frenchman Paul-Henri Nargeolet.
Since the tragedy, several accounts have emerged suggesting Rush dismissed safety concerns.
Weed is said to have asked Rush what would happen in an emergency in which the Titan ascended back to the surface and wasn’t near its mothership (passengers were bolted inside).
He told the website that Rush said: “‘Well, there’s four or five days of oxygen on board,’ and I said: ‘What if they don’t find you?’ And he said: ‘Well, you’re dead anyway.'”

Stockton Rush’s Startling Comments on Titanic Sub Safety

Reflecting on the exchange, Weed said: “It felt like an extraordinary thing to think, and it seemed almost to be a nihilistic attitude toward life or death out in the middle of the ocean.”
Yahoo News UK lists further examples of things Rush said about safety or is accused of saying.
An adventure-documentary cameraman who went on a test-dive in the Titan submersible said OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, the vessel’s creator, made a “bizarre” comment when a passenger raised concerns about what would happen in an emergency.
Brian Weed, a veteran camera operator, worked for the Discovery Channel’s “Expedition Unknown” TV show when he and his colleague boarded the Titan sub in Puget Sound, Washington, in May 2021.
Weed told Insider that the test dive was supposed to be a “precursor” to a dive to the Titanic shipwreck site in the depths of the North Atlantic that the TV crew had planned to film later that summer.
Moments after Weed, the “Expedition Unknown” host Josh Gates and Rush were locked in the sub; Weed asked Rush what would happen if the vessel had to make an ascent in an emergency suddenly and was nowhere near its mothership.

Dissecting Stockton Rush’s Views on Titanic Subs

Weed told Insider that Rush said,” ‘Well, there are four or five days of oxygen on board, and I said, ‘What if they don’t find you?’ And he said, ‘Well, you’re dead anyway.'”
“It felt like an extraordinary thing to think, and it seemed almost to be a nihilistic attitude toward life or death out in the ocean,” Weed said.
Weed added that Rush’s whole point was: “If you’re out there, and they don’t find you in that many days, you’re just going to die anyway — it’s over for you, so what does it matter if you can’t get out of the sub on your own.”
Weed said Rush’s apparent “cavalier attitude” toward “basic safety” made him feel “uneasy” from the start and was his first “red flag” from the dive experience, he said.
“That whole dive made me very uncomfortable with the idea of going down to Titanic depths in that submersible,” Weed said, adding that it didn’t feel safe.
Weed ultimately pulled out of the documentary project over safety concerns, and the “Expedition Unknown” production was also later cancelled.

In messages seen by the BBC, Rob McCallum told OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush that he was potentially putting his clients at risk. He urged him to stop using the sub until it had been certified by an independent agency.
Mr Rush responded that he was “tired of industry players who try to use a safety argument to stop innovation”.
The tense exchange ended after OceanGate’s lawyers threatened legal action, Mr McCallum said.
“I think you are potentially placing yourself and your clients in a dangerous dynamic,” he wrote to the OceanGate boss in March 2018. “In your race to Titanic, you are mirroring that famous catch cry: ‘She is unsinkable'”.
In the messages, Mr Rush, among five passengers who died when the Titan experienced what officials believe was a “catastrophic implosion” on Sunday, expresses frustration with the criticism of Titan’s safety measures.
“We have heard the baseless cries of ‘you are going to kill someone’ way too often,” he wrote. “I take this as a serious personal insult.”

Stockton Rush’s Unconventional Take on Titanic Sub Safety

Mr McCallum told the BBC that he repeatedly urged the company to seek certification for the Titan before using it for commercial tours. The vessel was never certified or classed.
“Until a sub is classed, tested and proven, it should not be used for commercial deep dive operations,” he wrote in one email.
“I implore you to take every care in your testing and sea trials and be very conservative,” he added. “As much as I appreciate entrepreneurship and innovation, you are potentially putting an entire industry at risk.”
In his response a few days later, Mr Rush defended his business and credentials.
He said OceanGate’s “engineering-focused, innovative approach… flies in the face of the submersible orthodoxy, but that is the nature of innovation”.

About the author

Olivia Wilson
By Olivia Wilson


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